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Jody Freeman

  • E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule

    October 10, 2017

    The Trump administration announced on Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming...Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law School, said the Energy Department proposal combined with the Clean Power Plan repeal signaled that the Trump administration was putting its thumb on the scale in favor of fossil fuels. “You see a pretty powerful message. Disavow any effort to control greenhouse gases in the power sector, and instead, intervene in the market to promote coal. It’s a wow,” she said.

  • Joseph Goffman joins Environmental Law Program as new executive director

    Joseph Goffman joins Environmental Law Program as new executive director

    October 2, 2017

    Joseph Goffman, who, over a 30-year career, has shaped environmental law and policy at the highest levels of the Executive branch and as a senior congressional staffer, will join Harvard Law School's Environmental Law Program in November as Executive Director.

  • Does the Colorado River Have Rights? A Lawsuit Seeks to Declare It a Person

    September 26, 2017

    Does a river — or a plant, or a forest — have rights? This is the essential question in what attorneys are calling a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit, in which a Denver lawyer and a far-left environmental group are asking a judge to recognize the Colorado River as a person...Jody Freeman, director of Harvard’s environmental law program, said Mr. Flores would face an uphill battle. “Courts have wrestled with the idea of granting animals standing,” she wrote in an email. “It would be an even further stretch to confer standing directly on rivers, mountains and forests.”

  • Trump’s environmental agenda is crashing into the courts

    August 15, 2017

    Donald Trump made clear on the campaign trail that he intends to “get rid of” the Environmental Protection Agency and many of its Obama-era regulations. And in its first six months, his administration has overturned or halted nearly two dozen environmental policies and significantly backed off enforcement of environmental pollution laws. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who sued the EPA 14 times in his previous post as attorney general of Oklahoma, has been leading the charge. But rolling back Obama-era environmental protections is actually not that easy. There are laws that govern how the EPA can change its policies. And the courts are proving to be a considerable obstacle to the Trump agenda...As Harvard law professor Jody Freeman told me by email, “Courts don't tend to believe in ‘alternative facts.’ Even conservative judges stick closely to the record and can be expected to look skeptically at a misrepresentation of the science.”

  • Gov. Brown unveils plan for global climate summit, further undercutting Trump’s agenda

    July 11, 2017

    In a rebuke to President Trump’s disengagement from worldwide climate change efforts, Gov. Jerry Brown told an international audience Thursday the president “doesn’t speak for the rest of us” and unveiled plans for a global environmental summit in San Francisco next year...The federal government is crucial for policy to succeed in the long run, but states can fill a role while Trump is in office, said Jody Freeman, a Harvard law professor who served as White House counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama administration. “This is just is of a piece of that effort to say, ‘Look, the U.S. isn’t stalling even though the Trump administration is committed to these rollbacks of climate and energy policy,’” Freeman said.

  • Kate Konschnik

    Kate Konschnik named executive director of Harvard Environmental Law Program

    July 6, 2017

    Kate Konschnik, a lecturer on law and the founding director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative (EPI), has been named the executive director of the Environmental Law Program (ELP).

  • The Energy 202: Trump’s Paris speech needs a serious fact check

    June 6, 2017

    Donald Trump spent 131 days contemplating what life would be like if the United States left the Paris climate agreement. Ultimately, he seemed to like what he saw, and followed his gut. On Thursday, the president made official his long-rumored decision to withdraw the United States from the 195-nation accord...The Paris deal "is more fair to the U.S. than previous agreements because it includes all the major economies of the world, not just the rich countries, so both developed countries and developing countries have skin in the game," Jody Freeman, a Harvard Law School professor and director of the school's Environmental Law and Policy Program, said.

  • Five-minute warnings

    April 25, 2017

    ...Thirty-five videos, featuring Harvard experts in science, business, law, health, economics, engineering, public policy, design, and the arts, have been assembled over the last year and a half as a resource for members of the public who want to learn more about climate change.....While every viewer will take home different lessons from the videos, Griswold was struck by the discussion of climate change economics and public policy from Associate Professor of Public Policy Joe Aldy and Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government Robert Stavins. He also pointed to perspectives on law from Archibald Cox Professor of Law Jody Freeman

  • In Dismantling Obama’s Clean Power Plan, Trump Hands Victory to the States Fighting It

    March 28, 2017

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday will order the Environmental Protection Agency to dismantle his predecessor's landmark climate effort, backing away from an aggressive plan to cut emissions at power plants that had been the foundation of America's leadership on confronting global warming..."There is a real question of whether they can legally dismantle the Clean Power Plan and replace it with nothing," said Jody Freeman, who was Obama's adviser on climate change and now directs the environmental law program at Harvard. Before the plan was put in place, she said, utilities found themselves exposed to potentially costly nuisance lawsuits from states demanding they take action to limit exposure to the public health threat of carbon. Those suits could re-emerge, she said, if the revised EPA plan lifts greenhouse gas restrictions on power companies.

  • Don’t Roll Back the Vehicle Fuel Standards

    March 8, 2017

    An op-ed by Jody Freeman. One of the signal achievements of the Obama administration was reaching an agreement with the auto industry to dramatically increase fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, doubling them to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The industry now wants to renege. At its behest, the Trump administration is expected to initiate a rollback. Weakening these standards would be a mistake for consumers, the environment and the auto industry itself. They are the most important action the United States has taken to address climate change and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.

  • 5 possible futures for the EPA under Trump

    February 13, 2017

    Donald Trump has long talked about reining in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is in charge of enforcing federal laws on air and water pollution. It’s a top priority for his supporters in the fossil-fuel industry...By the way, it’s unlikely that Pruitt can tear up the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, the 2009 analysis establishing that greenhouse gases were a threat and therefore need to be regulated, without Congress. “That has a voluminous scientific foundation behind it,” said Jody Freeman, a Harvard law professor and former Obama climate advisor. “The Trump administration couldn’t just come in and say nope, no more endangerment! There’s almost no chance that would be upheld [in court].” Plus, in a weird twist, if the EPA’s authority were repealed, that could open the door for common law suits against polluters in the states — a potential nightmare for companies.

  • Trump’s EPA pick poised to survive Senate fight, but his brewing battle with California will be harder to win

    February 3, 2017

    President Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency survived a rancorous committee vote Thursday, putting him on the path to full Senate confirmation and a confrontation with California. Scott Pruitt, who oil and gas companies are betting will help them reassert dominance over the energy economy, has cast doubt on California’s power to force automakers to build more efficient, cleaner-burning cars...Many such provocations by past administrations eager to flex their executive muscle have gone sideways. They have bogged previous White Houses down in years-long, politically bruising regulatory and legal disputes, during which the president who set out to teach an early lesson to assertive states ends up getting schooled by them. “Announcing that you are going to give your supporters what they want by picking off a few high-profile policies and rescinding them is really easy,” said Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law who served as White House counselor for energy and climate change under the previous administration. “Doing it is much harder.”

  • Gorsuch Could (But Might Not) Spell Trouble for Environmental Rules

    February 2, 2017

    U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has opposed giving broad deference to the EPA and other federal agencies during a decade on the federal bench, but his track record also indicates a reluctance to support “heavy-handed rollbacks” of Obama-era environmental rules, legal experts told Bloomberg BNA...And if confirmed, Gorsuch could also—if consistent in his reasonings—upend regulations promulgated by the Trump administration, Harvard Law School professor Richard J. Lazarus told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail. “The challenge … is to have judges who in fact apply the doctrine in an even-handed way even when it goes against the policies they might personally favor or be favored by those who have nominated them to the Court,” Lazarus said...The cases in which he has made decisions on environmental or public lands issues are really more about his administrative law views, Harvard Law School professor Jody Freeman told Bloomberg BNA. “He seems to come down on both sides depending on the particulars of the case.”

  • Legal world questions Trump’s 2-for-1 approach

    January 31, 2017

    President Trump's executive order to curb regulations may be impossible to implement, according to legal experts. Trump yesterday directed the White House Office of Management and Budget to provide guidance about how agencies could rescind two regulations for every one they publish. He also wants costs from new rules issued in 2017 to be offset with cuts to past regulations. Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law School, called the two-for-one regulation strategy "arbitrary, not implementable and a terrible idea." Freeman said the order notes agencies should follow through "to the extent permitted by law" and noted a president cannot order agencies to disobey the law. If they do, they will face lawsuits.

  • Donald Trump is getting ready to hammer the EPA

    January 24, 2017

    Now that he’s president, Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to drastically reshape the Environmental Protection Agency in the weeks and months ahead. All signs indicate that Trump will soon issue a flurry of executive orders as part of the process of weakening various air and water pollution rules and cutting agency budgets...The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate many different pollutants, including greenhouse gases. So Trump’s team can’t just say, “We don’t like this regulation; it’s too expensive.” They’d have to come up with a legally sound argument for why, say, the Clean Power Plan is an inappropriate way to regulate CO2 from power plants and what they’d do differently. “If they try to shortchange this process and rush out a brand new rule, it really will not go well for them when they get into court,” says Jody Freeman, a Harvard law school professor and former climate adviser to Obama.

  • Trump’s First 100 Day Promise On Climate Change Will Take Longer Than He Wants

    January 23, 2017

    One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to announce a rollback of two Obama administration environmental efforts, one to protect waterways from pollution and the other to curb heat-trapping gases in the planet’s atmosphere. But while the Trump administration made the announcement on day one of his presidency, it may be years before his wishes can come to fruition, legal experts say. “He cannot roll all this back with the stroke of a pen,” Jody Freeman, professor and founding director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School, told BuzzFeed News.

  • Harvard Law School: 2016 in review

    December 22, 2016

    A look back at 2016, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • What Could a Trump Administration Mean for the Environment?

    December 19, 2016

    As Donald Trump continues to announce administration roles, environmental experts and advocates are sounding the alarm over what they say are "extreme" selections that will put the government at odds with science and the health of the Earth..."You look at that set up and it's not a recipe for optimism," said Jody Freeman, a former counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama White House and director of Harvard's Environmental Law Program. "I think there's this undercurrent of threatening the legitimacy of climate science and I think that's very dangerous."

  • Environmentalists Brace For Scott Pruitt To Take Over EPA

    December 15, 2016

    What will an anti-regulation, climate skeptic do as head of the Environmental Protection Agency? Environmentalists are bracing. But Scott Pruitt will also face limits if he tries to strip the agency of its power...Jody Freeman is the director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law. She also advised the Obama White House and is on the board at ConocoPhillips. She says EPA administrators get most of their power through setting program budgets and deciding which new programs to pursue or not pursue, and Pruitt would have wide discretion on enforcing environmental rules. JODY FREEMAN: And if he wants to slow down enforcement or treat the states more gently, be a little more lax, he can certainly try to do that.

  • Trump’s EPA Pick May Struggle to Dismantle Obama’s Environmental Legacy

    December 9, 2016

    Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump's pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has fought President Barack Obama’s measures to curb climate change at every turn as attorney general of Oklahoma. Now he is hoping to take apart Obama's environmental legacy from the inside out, a task that could prove tougher than it sounds...Jody Freeman, a law professor at Harvard University, said such a move could create complications for the EPA, however, as it may be required legally to explain and support the change in direction.

  • If Trump wants to dismantle Obama’s EPA rules, here are all the obstacles he’ll face

    December 7, 2016

    Donald Trump has given every indication that he wants to dismantle the multitude of environmental rules that President Obama has put in place in the last eight years...Jody Freeman, a Harvard law school professor and former climate adviser to Obama, has been looking at this question extensively. Her view is that this won’t actually be easy for Trump — at least not without substantial help from Congress...I talked with Freeman about the mechanics of a potential Trump administration: how agency rulemaking works, what it would take to revamp Obama’s EPA regulations, why some environmental rules are much more vulnerable than others, and why Trump may not be able to undo everything Obama has done on climate.

  • Trump rollback of Obama climate agenda may prove challenging

    November 29, 2016

    Once sworn into office, Donald Trump will be in a strong position to dismantle some of President Barack Obama's efforts to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions. But experts say delivering on campaign pledges to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and bring back tens of thousands of long-gone coal mining jobs will likely prove far more difficult for the new president...Dismantling EPA regulations is difficult, especially if the rules have already been finalized and implemented. "The agency has already built up a very strong record to support those rules," said Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law School. "It can be very hard to do an about-face."

  • Trump Has Options for Undoing Obama’s Climate Legacy

    November 27, 2016

    President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed to dismantle many of the signature policies put in place by the Obama administration to fight the effects of climate change...Under the control of the new administration, the office could slow President Obama’s latest regulatory initiatives by repeatedly sending them back for additional work. “It has been a brake on agency regulation throughout its lifetime,” said Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert on environmental regulation. “Some presidents have used it as more of a brake than others.”

  • How Trump Can Reverse Obama Climate Change Regulations

    November 22, 2016

    President-elect Donald Trump will come into power next year with the authority to redefine his predecessor’s ambitious and divisive legacy on climate and energy policy. Just as President Barack Obama has used regulations and executive actions to try and make the U.S. a world leader in cutting planet-warming emissions across much of the nation’s economy—especially targeting the coal industry—Trump can largely act alone to define his own agenda. “I really do think there will be some kind of reversal of Obama-era policies, but there are legal, political, and practical constraints on how far the Trump administration can go,” said Jody Freeman, the director of Harvard University’s environmental law and policy program, in an interview with The Daily Signal.

  • Climate policy to be set by Trump, but not by him alone

    November 18, 2016

    For environmentalists and climate activists, the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency are myriad, particularly when his recent victory is combined with Republican Congress....“There’s no question there will be a regulatory rollback, the rhetoric will change dramatically, and climate change as an issue will not be as high on the agenda,” says Jody Freeman, director of the Environmental Law Program at Harvard University. “But we should be cautious and wait and see how dramatic the rollback will be… No administration can do everything at once. They’ll have to prioritize.”

  • Jody Freeman

    Freeman on what’s next for climate change policy

    November 17, 2016

    Regulations to fight climate change likely will be casualties of the incoming Trump administration, but environmental experts taking stock of the changing American political landscape said that work in the field will continue elsewhere and that a broad-based rollback of U.S. environmental protection will prove easier said than done.

  • What’s next for climate change policy

    November 16, 2016

    Regulations to fight climate change likely will be casualties of the incoming Trump administration, but environmental experts taking stock of the changing American political landscape said that work in the field will continue elsewhere and that a broad-based rollback of U.S. environmental protection will prove easier said than done...“Trump could unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, renouncing U.S. leadership on international climate negotiations. And he could try to rescind or weaken some important regulations, like the Clean Power Plan,” said Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor of Law and director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program. “But any effort to fully unravel the substantial and meaningful regulatory initiatives of the last eight years will be long, complicated, and difficult, and in the end likely only partial because of the significant legal, political, and practical barriers to doing so.”

  • Trump Wants to ‘Drain the Swamp,’ but Change Will Be Complex and Costly

    November 14, 2016

    After President-elect Donald J. Trump promised to “drain the swamp” that he sees in the nation’s capital, his millions of supporters are expecting vast changes in the sprawling federal bureaucracy, and conservative activists are drooling at the chance to remake, resize or reduce the reach of government...“He doesn’t possess the executive power to reorganize the government at whim,” said Jody Freeman, a law professor at Harvard University who served in the first Obama administration. “There are some minor things presidents can do, in terms of creating new offices in cabinet agencies. But the notion that he can single-handedly abolish agencies is fanciful.”

  • Rescinding Obama regs? Not so fast, legal scholars say

    November 13, 2016

    President-elect Donald Trump's vows to single-handedly gut Obama administration environmental regulations will be more difficult than he has portrayed, legal experts say. And any effort by Trump's U.S. EPA to rescind or revoke major scientifically based rules — like the air standard for ozone pollution — would be met with a barrage of lawsuits. "Lots of threats of this kind have come in the past," said Jody Freeman, a Harvard Law School professor and former climate adviser to President Obama. "Virtually every Republican administration comes in and says they want to deregulate. But when the rubber hits the road, there is little of it."

  • Jody Freeman

    2016 Election implications for climate change regulation: Not as bad as it seems?

    November 10, 2016

    An op-ed by Jody Freeman: The stunning results of the 2016 election have prompted headlines suggesting that Trump will, with the help of the Republican Congress, dramatically reverse the Obama legacy on climate, energy and the environment. But how realistic is this threat? The short answer is: the picture is significantly more complicated, and markedly less bleak, than the headlines suggest.

  • The fight for clean power (audio)

    October 7, 2016

    A hearing was held on the EPA's Clean Power Plan last month at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mike Edgerly spoke with the director of Harvard Law School's Environmental Law Program, Jody Freeman, about what happened at the hearing, and what that means for the plan and future climate regulation.

  • Harvard’s Lazarus and Freeman discuss marathon day of arguments, talk outcomes and next steps for rule (video)

    September 29, 2016

    Following years of debate over U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments yesterday in the lawsuit challenging the rule. During today's OnPoint, Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman, professors at Harvard Law School, discuss the reactions coming from the 10-judge panel on the key issues and arguments in the case. They also explain why they believe the court's final ruling will more than likely favor EPA.

  • Obama’s Clean Power Plan Faces Challenges in Court (audio)

    September 27, 2016

    A case against President Obama's Clean Power Plan will be heard today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit — 28 mostly Republican states, along with over 100 companies and labor and industry groups, will be fighting to overturn the plan, which was stayed by the Supreme Court back in February. Jody Freeman joins The Takeaway to explain what's next for this case. She's a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Harvard Law School environmental law program. She also served as the White House counselor for energy and climate change from 2009 to 2010.

  • Trend from Coal-to-Gas Overshadows this Month’s Regulatory and Legal Developments

    September 16, 2016

    This September is a big month for the coal industry. Early in the month, the US Environmental Protection Agency released its final version of a modified Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that seeks to cut emissions from power plants tied to smog. And, at the end of the month, a federal circuit court will begin hearing arguments over the Clean Power Plan that aims to cut carbon emissions...Harvard Law Professors Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus explain that EPA’s rule gives states several alternative options to comply, such as replacing their coal-fired generation with plants that run on cleaner natural gas, or with green energies. States with a lot of coal, for instance, have less stringent requirements. With that, Freeman and Lazarus point out that coal plants in this country are on average 42-years-old and pollute a lot more than newer plants. Still, coal is expected to supply 30 percent of the nation’s energy mix by 2030, which negates the argument that the plan is nothing more than a “power grab.”

  • Climate change: Has the EPA gone overboard?

    September 13, 2016

    Professor Jody Freeman, founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy Program, participated in an Intelligence Squared debate on the EPA's bold initiative to reduce carbon pollution at power plants.

  • Court holds fate of Obama’s climate legacy

    April 25, 2016

    President Obama’s signature climate change initiative is about to face its biggest challenge yet. Time is running out on Obama’s second term in the White House, and the president could leave office next January with his Clean Power Plan stuck in legal limbo. The rule, which would require power plants to cut their carbon dioxide output, is the centerpiece of Obama’s efforts to use executive power to slow U.S. contributions to global warming...“I think that people shouldn’t be too pessimistic or optimistic either way,” said Jody Freeman, director of Harvard Law School’s environmental law program and a former counselor to Obama. She filed a legal brief backing the plan on behalf of two former Republican EPA chiefs.

  • Kennedy, Keating back embattled EPA Clean Power Plan

    April 4, 2016

    Nearly 200 Democrats in Congress – including most from New England – are supporting the Environmental Protection Administration as it faces a legal challenge to its effort to regulate carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. “The law is clear: The Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to regulate air pollution and that is what the agency is doing with the Clean Power Plan rule,” Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said during a conference call Friday with reporters to announce the filing of an “amicus brief” in support of the rule...A similar brief was filed Thursday by Harvard Law Professors Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus on behalf of two former EPA administrators who had been appointed by Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Former EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly are supporting the Clean Power Plan as a “pragmatic, flexible, and cost-effective pollution control program” that respects the authority of states. They argue that the rule “falls well within the bounds” of the agency’s authority to reasonably interpret broadly worded statutory language to address unforeseen problems without the need for congressional amendment of current law.

  • Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus

    Two former Republican EPA Administrators file brief supporting Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions

    March 31, 2016

    Two former EPA Administrators, who served Republican Presidents, William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly, filed a friend of the court brief supporting the Obama administration’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. EPA’s Clean Power Plan is being challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by a coalition of State and industry opponents. This week, EPA filed its response to the legal challenge, and a number of other briefs are being filed in support of the Administration.

  • Obama’s Climate Challenge

    March 16, 2016

    An article by Jody Freeman (registration required): In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court made an extraordinary decision. It temporarily suspended the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature climate change initiative—the Clean Power Plan—which requires coal- and gas-fired power plants, the largest source of U.S. carbon pollution, to cut their emissions for the first time. At the Paris climate talks just two months prior, nearly 200 nations pledged to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions using a variety of domestic policies. Obama’s plan had become a crucial part of the United States’ strategy for meeting its own commitment in Paris: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025, compared to 2005 levels.

  • No, Republicans Won’t Succeed in Abolishing EPA: Legal Scholars

    March 9, 2016

    Be wary of any promises from Republican presidential candidates to abolish federal entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department, legal scholars told Bloomberg BNA, because they will not come true...“This is just red meat to their supporters, of course, and cannot be unilaterally accomplished,” Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg BNA. “Presidents can ask Congress for skeletal agency budgets, try to stymie or slow agency work or control them and weaken regulation through centralized White House review, but they cannot eliminate agencies or zero out budgets by fiat, which is what these candidates are promising.” ...Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law professor and legal scholar, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail that the agency's origins are “legally irrelevant” to whether it could now be abolished. “The fact that an executive order by President Nixon preceded the Acts of Congress constituting the current EPA, delegating regulatory powers to that agency, authorizing its expenditures and appropriating the funds in its budget doesn't make it vulnerable to unilateral presidential abolition,” Tribe said.

  • Jody Freeman

    HLS faculty awarded Climate Change Solutions Fund grants for multidisciplinary research

    March 3, 2016

    Ten research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change.

  • President Faust’s climate initiative awards $1M in grants

    March 2, 2016

    Ten research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change...This year’s winners are:...Wendy Jacobs and Alma Cohen, Harvard Law School. Jacobs and Cohen will work with existing community organizations to encourage behavior changes that meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build social and political support for policies to mitigate climate change...Katherine Konschnik and Jody Freeman, Harvard Law School. Konschnik and Freeman’s project, called Power Shift, will help policymakers, regulators, and stakeholders design a modern legal infrastructure to support 21st-century electricity by creating and supporting a new network of expert communities.

  • Standing, Administrative Law Define Scalia’s Legacy

    February 17, 2016

    Justice Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly Feb. 13 while on vacation at a West Texas resort, authored nearly two dozen majority opinions and a dozen dissents in environmental law cases during his 30 years on the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Richard J. Lazarus, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg BNA that Scalia “was probably environmental law’s greatest skeptic,” but not “because he was against environmentalism.” ... Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg BNA that “you could largely predict where Scalia would come out on those cases. He was very consistent that the burden on the larger public to get standing was always going to be greater than for directly regulated entities.”

  • The Supreme Court v. the Paris Agreement

    February 12, 2016

    A few hours after nearly every country in the world adopted the Paris Agreement last December, John Kerry went into enemy territory. Backed by the blinking lights of the Champs-Élysées, the bleary-eyed secretary of state clipped on an earpiece and started fielding questions from Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. One of the main objections American conservatives have to any global climate deal is the fear that other countries will renege, making money off dirty energy while Americans sacrifice to clean the atmosphere like a bunch of chumps...But this week, another branch of government emerged as a threat to the plan. Chief Justice John Roberts, backed by his four fellow Republican appointees on the Supreme Court, barred the Obama administration from taking any steps to implement its plan to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants until the courts reach a final decision on the plan’s legality...Jody Freeman, a Harvard University law professor who served as White House counselor for energy and climate change under Obama, disagrees. "There’s no argument for irreparable harm," she says. "There is no obligation on the part of the federal government to preserve the market share of the coal industry."

  • SCOTUS Stalls Clean Power Plan

    February 11, 2016

    OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook: The Supreme Court hits the brakes on the heart of President Obama’s push to fight global warming. We’ll dig in. Guests: Jody Freeman, founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy program.

  • Supreme Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Efforts to Regulate Coal Emissions

    February 9, 2016

    In a major setback for President Obama’s climate change agenda, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants. The brief order was not the last word on the case, which is most likely to return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court considers an expedited challenge from 29 states and dozens of corporations and industry groups. But the high court’s willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was an early hint that the program could face a skeptical reception from the justices...“It’s a stunning development,” Jody Freeman, a Harvard law professor and former environmental legal counsel to the Obama administration, said in an email. She added that “the order certainly indicates a high degree of initial judicial skepticism from five justices on the court,” and that the ruling would raise serious questions from nations that signed on to the landmark Paris climate change pact in December.

  • High Court’s FERC Ruling Good for EPA, Analysts Say

    February 3, 2016

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's recent victory before the U.S. Supreme Court bodes well for the Environmental Protection Agency when the justices eventually consider substantive challenges to the Clean Power Plan, legal analysts told Bloomberg BNA. The court ruled 6-2 that the Federal Power Act unambiguously extends FERC authority to regulate demand response rates in the wholesale energy market (FERC v. Elec. Power Supply Ass'n, 2015 BL 18590 (U.S. 2015); 15 ECR, 1/25/16). Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg BNA that she was surprised both by the margin of victory and that the court so emphatically upheld FERC's demand response rule. “The interesting thing is that an agency took an old law that was written decades ago and which couldn't possibly have anticipated the modern grid, and the agency had to adapt that law to deal with modern policy,” and the court resoundingly upheld those actions, Freeman said.

  • U.S. top court backs Obama administration electricity markets rule

    January 26, 2016

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a major Obama administration electricity-markets regulation that encourages big power users like factories to cut consumption at peak times, rejecting a challenge brought by electric utilities. The court, ruling 6-2, reversed a 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down the 2011 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation...Jody Freeman, director of Harvard Law School's environmental law and policy program, called the ruling a "crucial step" toward the Obama administration's goal to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

  • Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus

    Freeman, Lazarus author amicus motion on behalf of former EPA Administrators to back Clean Power Plan

    December 3, 2015

    Former United States EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly formally moved today to participate in pending litigation in support of the legality of the President’s Clean Power Plan. The motion seeking leave to file a friend of the court brief was written by Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus of Harvard Law School.

  • GOP ex-EPA heads back Obama in climate lawsuit

    December 3, 2015

    Two Republicans who headed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are backing the Obama administration’s climate change rule for power plants as it faces a federal court challenge. William Ruckelshaus, who was the first EPA administrator under President Richard Nixon and later served in the same position under President Ronald Reagan; and William Reilly, who served under President George H.W. Bush, want to be able to file amicus briefs in the case. The two men support the climate rule, saying in October that “the rule is needed, and the courts we hope will recognize that it is on the right side of history.”...Ruckelshaus and Reilly are being represented by Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus, two Harvard Law School professors who have written and fought in support of the climate rule.